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Thoughts on Mood Meds?

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  • #45372
    Andrea
    Participant

    I recently broke up with my fiancee, lost my beloved cat to cancer, and underwent some major changes at my job. It’s been a lot of change in a short amount of time. Some good, some bad, but still change that I apparently had not been prepared to deal with. I’ve been an emotional mess, crying at the drop of a hat, or getting anxious for seemingly no reason that I can scrounge up in my busy little mind. I’ve been trying to cope with this pain and change by staying busy whenever I am not physically paralyzed by some unknown fear that keeps me pinned to my couch with its iron fist. In fact, even when I think I am doing something, more often than not, it is on that couch. Playing Words with Friends, watching TV, blogging, chatting with an endless supply of men online, anything to keep my mind occupied. Needless to say, all of that mind occupation doesn’t always work, and that’s when I sleep…on the couch! Uggh, I want to throw that stinky old couch out the window. I think I would be better off without it most of the time..

    Anyway, I’ve totally digressed. I recently started therapy. I figure being able to talk about some of what’s on my mind would help, and it definitely has. But here is the dilemma I am facing. My therapist thinks I should go on an anti-depressant just to help me through this difficult time in my life. I, on the other hand, want to feel what I’m going through and master it on my own. I’ve been on mood pills before when I had tremendous anxiety from quitting smoking. That anxiety was not manageable and corrupted my every waking moment. This time, I feel like I am coping. All except for the days, like last Sunday, when I can’t get off the couch, and cry for hours. Yeah, those days are not so manageable, but I always get over them, and feel better eventually…

    I want to live spiritually. I want to help myself in an authentic way. I want to know what I’m going through and come out stronger on the other side. Should I be convinced to go on these meds when I don’t feel like they are the right thing for me?

    Any and all thoughts on the subject are appreciated!

    #45375
    River Christian
    Participant

    Hello. You went on anti-depressants when you quit smoking because you had tremendous anxiety? Which is sort of a minor thing. Now unbelievably major things have happened to you at once and you don’t want to take pills that will alleviate your justified anxiety? Are you joking? Help yourself. No one else will.

    #45378
    Matt
    Participant

    Andrea,

    In contrast to River’s interesting and curt perspective, consider that there are alternate ways of finding stability than medication. Perhaps leave the answer to “pills or no pills” for another day and consider addressing the lack of motivation directly. Said differently, perhaps you have plenty of energy, but that energy is being eaten up in mental spinning. Instead of distracting yourself, perhaps consider working to help the mind become peaceful and smooth. This can be done most easily through self nurturing, which is why the couch has so much gravity. However, the chatting and TV aren’t that great at nurturing, because they are full of more stories, more chaos and motion. Instead, consider taking a bath, listening to soft instrumental music, or doing a metta practice. Metta is actually the best of the best in my opinion (and that of the Buddha) at helping the mind become peaceful and smooth, and the body refuel its warmth and inspiration. Consider searching YouTube for “guided metta meditation” and checking a few of them out.

    Don’t despair, dear sister. You’ve been through a lot of tumult, and many people would be a little uprooted from the changes. It becomes painful, which pushes you toward avoidance quite naturally, reasonably, especially when your energy is low.

    There’s nothing wrong with taking medication in general, but your heart said no. Trust that. Perhaps if other things you try don’t work, your heart will change its mind… but remember pain arises to make us alert… and if we take too many pain killers, we don’t learn the causes and can sometimes injure ourselves even more. That being said, there’s no reason for you to sit in pain either… emotional or otherwise. So, if you can’t even find the motivation to relax more skillfully, perhaps some meds will help you get over the hump and walking again. Namaste, Andrea, may you find your peace and momentum.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #45394
    Lindsay
    Participant

    Andrea,

    I think it is an entirely personal decision, and I’ve done both ways depending on my situation. So, I’m not pro-meds and I’m not anti-meds. Based on what you are saying, I think you are fine without them. I’m no expert obviously, but I think you need to trust yourself here. You are in therapy; you are talking to someone about all the stuff going on; you are facing the broad array of (painful) emotions. And most days, you are managing to breathe through it. At this early stage in your grieving, I’d say that you are doing darn good with all you are facing. And I think the most important thing that you said, was that you are coping okay and moving forward.

    I also think you have the right attitude about that Sunday where you could not get off the couch. I think those days are inevitable and it does not mean that you need medication. Don’t beat yourself up about those days, allow yourself to wallow when you need to, and then eventually crawl off the couch and stand up when you can.

    When you might need to consider the meds more seriously: if those days become the norm and there is no sign of them tapering, if you stop seeing any forward progress emotionally, if you stop being able to feel anything at all, if you are regularly turning to alcohol or drugs or something dangerous to numb, if you’re suicidal or physically harming yourself, you see only a downward spiral and no light at the end…

    To me, it sounds like you are at a really low point in your life (which is okay! we all end up there occasionally!), but you see light in the distance. And you’re plodding along on the right route to get there.

    I think you should trust yourself in this situation. If you feel meds aren’t necessary (and you aren’t in a suicidal situation), do what you feel is best at this point in your life. It sounds like you are doing everything right.

    With all sincerity, I wish you the best with everything.

    #45397
    Kip Wheeler
    Participant

    Hi Andrea – Take it week by week. You don’t have to decide once and for all right now. Pick a neutral day of the week. Maybe Wednesday. On that day review. Are things going better or worse? How did I handle this week? How am I feeling about things generally? Choose a friend you can trust to help with feedback. Sometimes, when the world is changing fast it’s hard for us to see our own situation clearly. If you have the energy to spare it might be worth the time to consider why you think using meds makes your self care inauthentic. I’m not advocating one way or another, but experience is experience, meds or no. If meds create enough space to be present perhaps your perspective on all the challenges will change and then the meds will just drop away. Wishing you all the best.

    #45399
    monster magic
    Participant

    Hi Andrea,

    I understand how overwhelmed you are. A few years ago I went through a blast of life changing events that shattered my whole being, spiritually and physically. I too wanted to get through it all on my own because I had always believed that I was strong enough to handle burdens of all kinds. (that is another story about why I felt I could do this.) No matter what the life changing events are to each person, it matters and can not be compared. Remember it’s okay how and how long you take to find your peace of mind and acceptance…because everyone is different and can not be compared.

    On the note of moods and meds…I kept collapsing even with the help of therapist. When I found myself on my mothers couch (that couch!) and was looking to others to pick me up because I couldn’t do it myself anymore. That’s when I went on Paxil. 20mg. It took a year or so of me accepting that I was unable to help myself without the aid of meds.Then It took some more time for me to become aware that I was working against the meds and my perspective was a choice. Now (almost 3 years) on meds I see how it has helped me do the things I want to do without the anxiety and debilitating fear. Don’t get me wrong I continue to work through anxiety and fear but it’s manageable and through each change and step forward it is my practice to recognize it is me doing it not the other self on meds. I mean if I wanted to I can cause myself to panic and freak out if i wanted but the meds somehow feel safe in the sense that if i work with them I can work through what I need to. Like I said earlier, there is no comparison and no judgment accept what you put on yourself. So, from my experience I have let go (with practice) feeling that being on meds is now a permanent way I need to live life. It is just for now, and just until when that time comes I too can let go of being on them.

    The way I see it is, it takes time ( no comparison or judgment) to grow through your change and it takes time for all the new experiences to reveal themselves, just as it takes time to get to know someone through multiple experiences. Take it easy on yourself and know that whatever place it is you want to move forward to, it will happen. And if you like me, when enough time and perspective and distance comes between that compact blast of change all at once, you will see that if you had never had experienced that much pain and suffering you wouldnt be able to see how paying attention your self through those little steps each day has changed you for the good.

    No matter what you choose, meds or no meds there is work to be done spiritually and physically along side your healing process. Any friend of mine would say, take care of your self and if you want to be different do things differently. Everything happens for the good! I wish you the best Andrea! and don’t give up! Maybe tossing your couch out in the trash is a symbol of your devotion to yourself!

    Monster Magic.

    #45490
    Andrea
    Participant

    Thank all of you so much for your varying opinions and thoughts on the subject. It’s really made me think and I’ve decided for now not to go on anything. I feel like I am making a lot of progress by going to therapy, as well as by joining a community such as this one, with so many thoughtful and wonderful people as members! I talked to my therapist and told her that I don’t want to go on any medications right now and she fully supported me.

    I’m really enjoying this journey towards being more mindful and spiritual and I feel like I have a handle on what was causing my anxiety. I am ready to move forward and create a new and better future for myself!

    I’m also pretty sure I am ready to get a new cat this weekend, or two. There are so many furry friends out there that need love and companionship. I know I will find one that is perfect for me!

    Peace and Love to you all!

    #45576
    Tim
    Participant

    Andrea,

    this is a very personal decision to make but i will share with you my experience.
    earier this year I was in a bad way. I won’t go into details as its quite long but we lost our second child. my life was upside down !!!!

    every single professional told me the best way to deal with this was drugs. I tried them for 2 weeks. felt like a zombi and threw then all away. i then looked for an alternative.

    I now go walking every sinle day, no matter what the weather, no matter how busy I am. I walk….. sometimes I walk and walk and feel a little “forest gump”. most days i walk for an hour. some days only 10 mins. however its always with nature and always by myself (sometimes with my dogs). such a simple step that anybody can do it. I think the gym or any exhausting exersize does not have the same effect. I have time to think whilst walking and I also have time to take in what is around me. (ok so currently its dark and 2 degrees but in an odd way that actually helps too) the main thing for me was to get off that sofa…. i was the same, it was my best and worst friend all at the same time…

    maybe think of a small step you can take to add some gentle exersize to your life where you too can enjoy the outside world and get off that sofa.

    as for if the drugs are right or wrong. for me they were no good. for others they seem to work. for me they just masked over the issue. For some it helps bring the issue out. you must make this choice…. listen to the docs but make your own mind up… .]

    good luck and remember it will get easier !

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by Tim.
    #53752
    Joshua
    Participant

    Hey Andrea,

    One of the most effective ways I’ve found is to exercise daily. Not just a little walk, you’ll want at least 1-2 hours of “real” exercise. Running, biking and yoga are all great options. I found that doing this daily kept me less stressed out, helped my anxiety and made me feel more energized and better all day. I recommend doing this outside as well, not inside. You’ll want the fresh air and sun as it helps even more.

    You also want to eat very healthy. I always say a whole foods diet, no junk. This helps in so many ways, more then people think.

    Good luck ; )

    #59147
    Mike
    Participant

    Mood meds helped me with my anxiety and depression, but they hurt me in some ways as well. Anxiety runs in my family so in all likelyhood there is a predisposed imbalance, and sometimes it is nervousness or sometimes it is temper. The meds helped me with this, but once I got them I felt bad that I needed meds, that I couldn’t through my own will and spirituality fix myself I was after all a health nut and into meditation. The med drugs killed my energy and motivation to workout and do some other stuff and I needed more meds for the side effects. As a person passionate about art and creativity I felt like it killed that as well. Getting off of them is a nightmare, especially Effexor which is an snri. I used to be the type of person that could kick bad habits easily, but I started smoking pot again habitually after not doing it for years and couldn’t quit. The pot seemed like it made me feel again, and as I did some research I found that I was self medicating. The meds were creating chemical imbalances, they were numbing me in order that I wouldn’t feel, thus causing some neurochemicals and receptors to act and some not to do anything to compensate for that, the pot did made me feel and brought some passion and surprisingly motivation to me. It was just one more drug though so I have been quitting off and on and right now has been my longest sober streak. I don’t think anyone wants to feel bad all of the time, but I also don’t think people want to feel numb and right now the drugs for mood disorders aren’t perfect.

    The medication though has helped me with depression and anxiety, I can socialize with people and not feel like I am dying and I don’t want to stay in bed all day everyday feeling sorry for myself. Just realize that if you take anti-depressants it is just a bandaid on a dam if you don’t work on your problems. It isn’t like taking an anti-biotic where once the symptoms are gone you stop taking it. Often times a person will be on some form of anti-depressant until they take it upon their self to get off and it can be kind of torturous with feelings of dizziness, headaches, a shock like feeling in your brain, insomnia, mania, depression, anxiety, panic attacks etc… The doctors don’t tell you all of this when they write the script they say, “I think you should be on an anti-depressant for a little while.” It is up to you to ask what exactly the plan is, how long is a little while? How will you be taken off if you will or will you just be put on a different one once that one is ineffective? Tell the doctor your concerns, make it known that you want it to be only for a limited time improvement or not.

    Like Joshua above said about exercise, do it research has shown that anti-depressants work best when teamed up with exercise and psychotherapy. When we exercise our bodies naturally balance themselves, like I said anti-depressants can make a person lazy but the thing is that exercise when done can make you more energized it is just doing it that is hard. Find an exercise you can do and is self motivating. In particularly for a person with a mood disorder social team sports are best, get out and be around people. Join a running, tennis, kayaking, yoga or whatever you want to do team or club and socialize while exercising and not only will you be getting healthy but you will be doing the opposite of what mood disorders cause (the retracting of a person back into their shell). Healthy eating is essential especially omega 3 DHA and EPA it has been clinically proven to help with mental function and over all brain health. Stay away from sugars and refined foods, they cause spikes in the chemicals in our bodies. Get your hormones along with vitamin B and D levels checked, especially thyroid if you haven’t yet these imbalances can cause symptoms that look like mood disorders.

    Hope this post has helped in some way have a good day!

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